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Science Experiment: Angle of the Sun and the Seasons

Hi kids, parents, and teachers! Science projects and experiments can be fun. However, be sure to always have a parent or teacher supervising to make sure things are safe!

Purpose: To learn how the Sun's angle affects the temperature on Earth. This angle is important as the Earth is tilted creating our seasons. Go here for more on the Earth's Seasons for kids.

Materials Procedure
  1. Lay the thermometer on the paper.
  2. Tape the ruler to the underside of the flashlight so that 12 cm of the ruler is sticking out to where the beam will shine.
  3. Hold the flashlight so that the beam shines directly down onto the thermometer. The ruler will keep the flashlight 12 cm from the thermometer.
  4. Observe and record the temperature after 5 minutes.
  5. Let the thermometer return to room temperature.
  6. Repeat the experiment, only this time hold the flashlight at approximately a 45-degree angle in relation to the thermometer. Make sure the flashlight is still about 12 cm from the thermometer.
  7. Observe and record the temperature after 5 minutes.
Conclusion
  1. Which "Sun" angle produced the higher temperature?
  2. Where on the Earth do the Sun's rays hit the most directly year round?
  3. Where on the Earth do the Sun's rays hit at an angle?
  4. Why do some areas of the Earth receive direct rays and others angled rays?
  5. What other major weather occurrence is caused by the angle of the Sun's rays on the tilted Earth?
  6. How could meteorogists use this information to understand where hurricanes are likely to form?
Extension

Predict what would happen if the Earth was not tilted.



Reference: NASA SciFiles

More Earth Science Experiments:
Air Pressure and Weight - Experiment with air and discover that it has weight.
Landfill and Recycling - How do landfills work?

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